Colorado Sportsbooks Could Rival Nevada, NJ
When sporting betting resumes, Colorado could rival the big dogs of the industry: New Jersey and Nevada. Sportsbooks in the Centennial State could go live as soon as May 1.
When Colorado’s sportsbooks begin operating, they could rival the sports wagering operations in New Jersey and Nevada. Practically speaking, no one expects much sportsbook activity until pro sports return. But with or without action, Colorado sports betting is set to launch May 1.
New Jersey, which challenged the federal law that banned sports betting in most states, was first out of the gate when the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the ban in 2018. It currently offers the most lucrative sportsbook operation in the nation, with about 85 percent coming from online sportsbooks.
Last November, Colorado voters narrowly approved Proposition DD, which authorized the state’s three casino towns to offer sports betting at brick-and-mortar operations and across the state with online operators.
Colorado’s Limited Gaming Control Commission (LGCC) has been working overtime to approve applications, and despite the coronavirus has insisted it will launch on time.
PlayColorado.com has released figures that project a handle as large as $6 billion annually, with $40 million paid to the state in taxes. According to chief analyst Dustin Gouker, “With a significant base of existing land-based casinos, a regulatory framework that will be attractive to operators, and one of the largest metropolitan markets in the country to draw from, Colorado is well-positioned to capitalize on sports betting. But assuming the industry does launch on May 1, it will be doing so in unprecedented circumstances with almost no sports to wager on.
“There are some advantages to a forced soft opening, but it also means that it will be some time before we learn with confidence just how Colorado’s bettors will respond to legal sports betting.”
Of course, that would depend on professional sports relaunching, since without it there will be little to wager on. Most don’t expect any leagues to begin playing before June.
Gouker praised Colorado lawmakers for consulting with casino operators and bettors and taking to heart lessons from other states with successful operations, such as New Jersey. “Colorado’s methodical approach might have been frustrating to bettors by slowing the launch, but there is plenty to be encouraged about. Sports betting operators have inked partnerships and regulators are listening to stakeholders. That will serve Colorado well,” he said.
The betting landscape in Colorado will include the largest sportsbook in the world. For years, SuperBook dickered with the idea of expanding beyond its long-time home at the Westgate in Las Vegas, the largest sportsbook in the world. Now it’s found a new base at the Lodge Casino in Black Hawk in the Rocky Mountains.
“We believe the Lodge is a perfect fit for our initial expansion opportunities,” said SuperBook Executive Vice President, Jay Kornegay, a Colorado native. SuperBook still awaits a license from the state.